Spieth fires 64, leads Masters by three strokes

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Jordan Spieth was a popular pick to win the Masters, and he didn't disappoint Thursday, but there are plenty of heavy hitters chasing him after Round 1 at Augusta National.

Leaderboard: Jordan Spieth (-8), Jason Day (-5), Ernie Els (-5), Justin Rose (-5), Charley Hoffman (-5)

What it means: Spieth has been on fire this season. In his last three starts he won the Valspar, finished second in San Antonio and lost in a playoff in Houston. He continued that good play in Round 1 with nine birdies and one bogey to open a three-shot lead. But don't hand Spieth his first major title yet. Only three players since 1980 – Trevor Immelman (2008), Ben Crenshaw (1984) and Seve Ballesteros (1980) – have gone on to win after holding the lead or co-leading after the first round.

Round of the day: Spieth got hot early and never looked back. He birdied Nos. 2 and 4 and made the turn with three more on Nos. 8, 9 and 10. After a par on 11, the 21-year-old Texan made plenty of noise in Amen Corner with circles on 12 and 13, and then on the par-4 14th he hit a ridiculous recovery shot from the trees that ricocheted off the flagstick for another. His only blemish came on the par-5 15th, but Spieth closed with a birdie on 18. Despite a T-2 finish last year, Thursday's 64 was his first round in the 60s at Augusta.

Best of the rest: Take your pick of big names and chances are they're in contention. Major champions Els and Rose are three back, along with Day, who won earlier this year at Torrey Pines and has seven top-10s in the majors. Sergio Garcia is at 4 under par. Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson lead a large group at 2 under. And world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, in search of his third consecutive major and the career Grand Slam, rallied for a 1-under 71. He has plenty of company, including defending champion Bubba Watson, 65-year-old Tom Watson, Graeme McDowell, Hideki Matsuyama and Keegan Bradley.

Biggest disappointment: J.B. Holmes has two second-place finishes and a win in Houston this season, but he likely won't be adding a green jacket to his closet after shooting a 4-over 76. Reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer also shot 76 to continue his poor record at Augusta.

Main storyline heading into Round 2: McIlroy fought hard to stay in the mix and will be looking to move into contention heading into the weekend, but Tiger Woods will again be under the microscope. The current world No. 111 shot a 1-over 73, a respectable score considering the last time he played in public he shot an embarrassing 82 in Phoenix and then withdrew the following week from Torrey Pines with a back injury. But Woods finds himself in need of a low round to have any chance of winning his first green jacket in 10 years.